Shamir Urged to Delay Submitting New Government to the Knesset

Nine Knesset members urged Premier-designate Yitzhak Shamir today to delay submitting a new coalition government to the Knesset at least until next week to allow more time for efforts to bring the Labor Alignment into a national unity government.

The nine–six Likud and three Laborites — met with Shamir for three hours today. He told them he expects to present a new government to the Knesset, probably on Thursday and asked for their support. He said Likud made every effort to bring Labor into a national coalition, but to no avail. The Likud-Labor talks broke down last Friday. Shamir reportedly told the dissenting MKs that they were free to approach Labor on their own.

This apparently did not satisfy the six Likud MKs who announced after a private meeting later today that they would not support a Shamir government if one is presented this week. They did not say whether they would vote against it or abstain. In any case, their defection could cost Shamir a Knesset majority.

If he presents his government this week, Shamir may have to do without the votes of Premier Menachem Begin who has a skin ailment which has confined him to his home for the past month; and Aharon Abu Hatzeira, leader of the Tami party, who began serving a three-month sentence yesterday for embezzlement. With six Likud MKs in opposition or abstaining, Shamir can muster only 56 votes, five short of a majority. In that case, he may be forced to postpone the voting.

But Likud MK Roni Milo said today there was no reason for delay. He predicted that Begin would show up for the voting and noted that Abu Hatzeira can legally attend the Knesset to cast a ballot. He is serving his sentence as a day worker at a local police station.

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